What he said.Especially about the Diversion and Bandit. Aldi have just had a run on budget bike attire. It's fairly good stuff. Lidl sometimes do winter gear too. Dont bother with the helmets though..Welcome to the club Alfred
If you were just sticking to the 19 mile commute, a smaller engined bike would be fine or even better a 400cc scooter....very comfy and economical.
With the 190 mile run, you would be wanting something along the lines of a 650cc bike, that distance would be a balls ache on a small bike and it wouldn,t do the bike much good either.
Most bikes come in 2 flavours N is unfaired and normally more upright riding position ( comfy )
S is the sportier of the type, normally half/full faired and slightly sporty riding poition.
Some types to look at....you did not mention your budget however.
Suzuki SV650....lovely little bikes, great for commuting.Decent speed,reliable,good mpg.£ 2500 to £5000 ( owned one )
Suzuki GSF650 ( Bandit ) again great bike for virtually anything you throw at it,reliable,good mpg.£2000 to £ 5500 ( owned one )
Yamaha Diversion 600 the old type was the archtypical despatach riders bike...good reccomendation. £1500 to £ 5500
Kawasaki Versys 650...This bike is a cracker, excellent riding position,great brakes,220 mile tank range,beautiful engine, good lights etc etc...£3000 to £6000 ( owned one )
Or choose an old BMW like a R100GS,R1100GS....absolute workhorse, built for massive miles and comfort..very,very cheap to insure( got one now )
I used to ride my Thundercat back and forth to Munich for 2 years, loved it. You can pick them fairly cheaply at the moment. It's a good height too if you are a little on the short side, the reach is good and you don't end up leaning on the tank. Handled well in ice and snow, better than my Kwack did.The Deauville has a good write up in the latest Rider mag, shaft drive so low maintenance.
I ride an XJR 1300, naked bikes are ok for short commutes but can get abit uncomfortable on long m/way commutes (though also keeps your speed down).
Most bikes mentioned above are good bikes and would fit your needs:
Suzuki Bandit 600, with a fairing, you can pick one up for £1000+, easy to ride, quick enough when needs, but naked ones tend to have been thrashed by new riders, so check them over, loads out there, so some good deals to be had. Easy to ride, spares are plentiful and lots have been looked after by owners, especially the half faired ones.
Suzuki SV650, very good rep, more sporty looking than the Bandit.
Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer, pre FZ6 model, £1200 ish upwards, better handling than the Bandit, very good tank range (i got 180+ from a tank riding at m/way speeds-ish , sat at 80mph), ideal first 'big' bike, also they tend to have been well looked after. Easy to ride in traffic and around town, very forgiving bike if you are in the wrong gear etc
Some sports tourer bikes are also good:
Honda CBR 600F, or the Yamaha YZF 600 Thundercat (excellent bike my mate did over 54k in 2 years on one no probs), also not as popular as the CBR but just as capable, fairly cheap and a lot of them are owned by girls for some reason, not sure why as they are top bikes.
If your not concerned about image an older Yamaha Diversion would also be worth looking at. Good commuting bikes, easy to ride and look after, i know the 900 is shaft drive i think the 600 may be as well.
Best of luck with the license and getting a bike. As someone else posted, try them on for size, even if you don't test ride one, as a new rider being sat comfortably with at least one foot able to touch the ground with more than just your tip toes, handle bars a comfortable reach, levers easy to reach, can all be discovered just sitting on a bike in a shop. Most of the above bikes wil handle rougly the same anyway
Are they really that bad? A mate a few years ago had a Kymco cruiser which looked good, if you liked that sort of thing, but he told is was as relaible and an un-reliable thing in a un-reliable contest.Fat Cav,
DO NOT buy a 125 "cruiser" (unless you want everyone to laugh at you all the time). The only possible reason to own a 125 cruiser is because you are on L plates and have legs approximately 12 inches long.
If 125 is your engine size, I would go the scooter route, since that seems to be your thing anyway. Otherwise, consider a 125 in a "trail bike" configuration - the only respectable option for a 125.
Good advice.Helmet is top priority. You can get a good quality one from £90, look on Ghostbikes website, Carberg VR2 is a good one. Don't get a lid off e bay, try them on first for sizing.
Yes I did read the question. Going from a 125 straight up to a 600 wasn't that difficult. I'd disagree on it not being an ideal commuter bike, but that comes down to personal preference. I'd much prefer the CBR6F than the likes of a Bandit 6 or a Gixxer 6 or the Thundercat, but once again, that's personal preference. I wasn't the only one to suggest the CBR6F so it can't be that bad. The knack is to find what is comfy for you, fits your requirements, size and frame, pocket and your riding style. The only way to do that is to get your arrse on a lot of bikes.P-J, I am sure the CBR 600 was a good bike for you - and a fine bike in general - but(and this is important here) did you read the question? I dont think the CBR600F is an ideal beginners bike or commuter bike.